Four lines of research are discussed: assessment of expert teaching,; cognitive abilities in high-technology environments; identification of gifted and talented students; and teacher s ability to understand students’ aesthetic aptitude in art instruction. The first two represent theoretical-descriptive lines of research and the latter two represent descriptive-applied research. These four areas share a common approach to research which underlines the assessment of intervening variables in the instructional process —from a cognitive conceptualization— as a means to achieve the optimization of the instructional processes. © 1992, Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.